Decatur Microseismicity

CO2 Sequestration in Decatur, IL

In an effort to evaluate strategies that can reduce emissions of green house gases, a public-private consortium funded by the Department of Energy is conducting research to evaluate the viability of a large-scale CO2 sequestration project. The main partners in this consortium are Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM), the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) and Schlumberger Carbon Services (SCS). Two separate projects were and are funded in Decatur: the Illinois Basin Decatur Project (IBDP) and the Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage (ICCS) project. The first project injected roughly one million tons of super-critical CO2 into the Mt Simon sandstone over a period of three years. The second project will triple the injection rate and will likely begin operations in the first half of 2017.

USGS Microseismic Monitoring in Decatur, IL, CO2 sequestration site

Because of the large scale of this CCS project the USGS monitors microseismic activity to better understand the possible hazard associated with deep-well injection of carbon dioxide at Decatur. We do this by using a local seismic network that was installed by the USGS starting in the summer of 2014 and was continually expanded until December 2015. The network currently consists of 15 seismic stations, with seven 300-ft-deep borehole stations and eight surface stations. Data from the network is accessible at the IRIS data management center (network code=GS, stations=DEC*).

So far, we have found microseismicity near the injection site in the Mt Simon sandstone and adjacent layers. The magnitudes of detected events range from -1 to 1.2; none of these micro-earthquakes could be felt at the surface. The microseismic activity also has not negatively impacted the safe sequestration of CO2 at Decatur. For more detailed information on network configuration and scientific results from the USGS network, see the scientific report (copyright protected). For more information on earthquakes in general, please visit the USGS Earthquake FAQ.



Ole Kaven, Research Geophysicist, USGS, Menlo Park